Brigham Young, tithing, and the rich young man

Brigham Young – Journal of Discouses Vol. 1, p.201

Perhaps we may find one here and there who will say, “I cannot do this, I may say it with my lips, but to feel it in my heart, the case is hard; I am poor and needy, and desire to go to the gold mines to obtain something to help myself, by speculating upon the Gentiles, and
thus get me a good farm and team, with which to get out of this thraldom and difficulty; my mine is so perplexed, I cannot say my affections are fully dedicated to the Lord my God.” What is to be done in such a case? I know what I would do, for I have experience in these matters—I would call upon the Bishop, and make known to him my distress. There are many who in these words complain, and say they are so poor they cannot pay their tithing; say they, “I have only got three horses and two yoke of cattle and about fifty sheep; I want one horse to ride, and the others to haul wood, I therefore do not know how I can possibly pay my tithing.” While on the other hand, others who have only got half a dozen chickens can willingly pay their tithing. You may say, “It is easier for them to pay tithing than for those who possess so much, for they are so very poor, it does not infringe upon other matters.” Now if I had but one cow, and felt thus, I would give her away forthwith. If you have only six horses and ten yoke of cattle, or only one cow, and you are too poor to pay your tithing, give the whole into the public works. I speak thus to those who are inclined to love the substance of this world better than the Lord. If you have gold and silver, let it not come between you and your duty. I will tell you what to do in order to gain your exaltation, the which you cannot obtain except you take this course. If your affections are placed upon anything so as to hinder you in the least from dedicating them to the Lord, make a dedication of that thing in the first place, that the dedication of the whole may be complete.

We may think Brigham is wrong when he says “I speak thus to those who are inclined to love the substance of this world better than the Lord. If you have gold and silver, let it not come between you and your duty. I will tell you what to do in order to gain your exaltation, the which you cannot obtain except you take this course. If your affections are placed upon anything so as to hinder you in the least from dedicating them to the Lord, make a dedication of that thing in the first place, that the dedication of the whole may be complete.”

But let us compare his words to Christ’s words to the rich young man.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Don’t we see how well the counsel of Brigham Young matched the counsel of the Son of God? Brigham Young said to such people “I will tell you what to do in order to gain your exaltation, the which you cannot obtain except you take this course” and Christ said “If thou wilt be perfect”. Brigham Young told saints tempted by money to give all that they had to the church. Christ said “go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven”.

 

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